Azaz, 23 February 2024 – The Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity (SACD) today released a comprehensive briefing titled “Death of Dignified Return and Political Process,” providing an in-depth analysis of displaced Syrians’ perspectives on the normalization of the Syrian regime. This release follows an extensive survey involving 3500 displaced Syrians across Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon, amid a backdrop of increasing normalization attempts by regional and international actors post the devastating February 2023 earthquake.

The briefing highlights a significant rejection of normalization efforts with Bashar al-Assad’s regime among the displaced Syrian community, emphasizing their concerns over safety, the fate of detainees, and a lack of faith in the current political process. A staggering 93% of surveyed individuals have halted efforts to return to regime-controlled areas, underscoring the necessity for a safe and dignified environment as a precondition for their return.

„The voices of displaced Syrians cannot be silenced or ignored. They form the moral compass guiding any genuine efforts toward resolving the Syrian crisis. The survey reveals that many displaced Syrians reject the idea of returning under the rule of the Syrian regime, where justice and accountability remain distant dreams,” says Dr. Mazen Kseibi, member of Board of Trustees of SACD.

Key findings reveal the critical importance of accountability, the status of detainees, and the establishment of a safe environment as foundational to any meaningful political solution. The survey also showcases the dire living conditions and discrimination faced by Syrian refugees, particularly in Turkey and Lebanon, and the severe challenges within north-west and north-east Syria.

“The moral imperative to support displaced Syrians in their quest for justice and a dignified return cannot be overstated. Normalizing relations with a regime responsible for untold suffering without addressing the root causes of the conflict and the regime’s responsibility is a grave betrayal of the Syrian people. It sends a dangerous message that the international community is willing to sacrifice justice on the altar of realpolitik,” says Dr. Hala Elgawi, member of Board of Trustees of SACD.

In light of these findings, the SACD urges international actors to reconsider normalization efforts with the Assad regime, highlighting the potential for such actions to undermine prospects for a sustainable political solution and jeopardize the rights and safety of millions of displaced Syrians. The association calls for the prioritization of depoliticized aid, the continuation of targeted sanctions, and a concerted effort to include displaced Syrians in the political process.

The SACD’s briefing serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by displaced Syrians and the imperative for the international community to uphold principles of justice, accountability, and human dignity in addressing the Syrian crisis.

For the full briefing click here.